‘I love this player’: Rio Ferdinand raves about Arsenal star after win at Leicester

Rio Ferdinand lavishes praise on Emile Smith Rowe after Arsenal's impressive 2-0 victory at Leicester City

Rio Ferdinand
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand (Photo: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand singled out Emile Smith Rowe for special praise after the young midfielder helped to fire Arsenal to a 2-0 victory at Leicester City on Saturday.

Smith Rowe netted the second goal of the game for the Gunners in the first half at the King Power Stadium after Gabriel had put the visitors 1-0 up against the Foxes.

The 21-year-old has now scored three goals and made two assists in 10 Premier League games for the north London side this term and he has been drawing plenty of praise thanks to his impressive performances.

Former Manchester United star Ferdinand has now admitted that he is a huge admirer of the Arsenal youth system product and singled Smith Rowe out for praise after the win against Leicester City.

Asked if he had thought Arsenal would beat Leicester City, Ferdinand told his FIVE YouTube channel, as quoted by Metro: “No, but it was more the manner in which you [Arsenal] did it.

“The manner in which you went there and gave them a quick one-two early doors in the game was for me one of the best performances I’ve seen in that first half.

“There was an element of control about it there for the first 25-30 minutes. Emile Smith Rowe… I love this player, man.

“Mikel Arteta has been under a lot of pressure and a lot of people have been calling his name and [saying] he should be given the sack but he’s slowly building something there.

“Leicester, to be fair to them, on another day get back into that game. Ramsdale, phenomenal. He pulled off a number of saves in that game but it’s not all rosy for Arsenal, it’s not all finished.

“The job is not complete but they are on the right track for me. My two favourite players are Saka and Emile Smith Rowe in that team and every time the ball goes to Saka I think something could happen, the same with Emile Smith Rowe.

“What I liked about the team was I saw a humbleness in [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette in the way that they played. They got back into a system.

“Again, they got back into a structure and they played for that team and led by example. I think they’ve lacked that leadership on the pitch when I’ve watched them at times and them two for me showed that in that game.

“It wasn’t a perfect performance but it was a very positive one.”

Smith Rowe committed his long-term future to Arsenal back in July when he signed a new contract to keep him at the club until 2026 at the earliest, and he was also handed the number 10 shirt by the Gunners.

Meanwhile, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was asked for an update on Kieran Tierney’s fitness on Saturday after the Scot missed the Gunners’ most recent two Premier League games due to an ankle injury.

Speaking after the victory at Leicester, Arteta said: “He didn’t train with the team yesterday, he’s still not feeling good, he’s still in pain, and he is not comfortable when he’s running.

“He was struggling so we’re trying to help him as much as possible, we need him back and I don’t know when that will be.”

Arsenal will host Watford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon before the final international break of the year.

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